May and June rainfall stymied work and agricultural efforts in the area, but it was a blessing for Hannibal's Common Ground Community Garden, where the raised beds allowed excess water to escape.

May and June rainfall stymied work and agricultural efforts in the area, but it was a blessing for Hannibal’s Common Ground Community Garden, where the raised beds allowed excess water to escape.

Former director Jessie Dryden and board members gathered at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the status of what Dryden described “as a transitional year.” They discussed a potential community event; outlined tasks needed for outreach and garden maintenance and shared stories of successful Saturday work sessions.

Dryden remembered a turnout of about 150 people for the first community potluck and Re-Creation Day, held at the garden Saturday, August 3, 2013. Board members discussed a potential potluck event for the summer that could include handing out free seeds, sharing recipes and exchanging gardening tips with one another.

Dryden and board members also discussed seeking financial support from local organizations, such as BASF and Hannibal Clinic Health Services — one of the project’s first donors.

Most community garden projects take three to five years to fully mature, but Common Ground Community Garden is “not getting a direct link to finances,” Dryden said.

“I think that’s very key for us to reach out to new businesses,” she said.

Without financial backing, the garden “will not be sustained,” Dryden said, noting once that occurred, Hannibal Parks & Recreation would likely change the garden “to what they see for it.”

“It’s such a great concept. I’d hate to see that fail — the seeds of it are important,” board member Gary Jordan said. “It’s a sustainable utopia.”

Each Saturday, workdays have mainly involved weeding and similar maintenance tasks, since Mother Nature provided the necessary water, board member Celia Thompson said.

Jordan remembered a group of youngsters who recently visited from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, engaging in planting, composting and other tasks.

A two-year old girl knew all about sustainable watering methods.

“She says, ‘you’re using rainwater, aren’t you?’” Jordan said.

Thompson shared her memory of two children carrying buckets together.

“That’s beautiful,” Dryden said. “That’s what the community garden is about.”

Dryden felt grateful for all the volunteers who kept the garden thriving. Jordan said, “I think of Jessie” every time he works in the garden or walks by.

“It’s really blessed me to have you guys take it and make it your own,” Dryden said.

Please visit the Common Ground Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/CommonGroundCommunityGarden — or email hannibalgardenproject@gmail.com for more information.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com .